What Dance Is This Anyway: The Foxtrot’s local, humble Pomona roots

By Anneli Fogt

Would you believe the Foxtrot actually has ties to Pomona?

Yep, the humble city of Pomona was home to the creator of the Foxtrot. But first,what exactly is foxtrot?

Last week, I introduced the waltz, a smooth and refined dance with origins in the rich and opulent Victorian era. Since then, it has become the basic ballroom dance that, once mastered, can be a segway into almost every other ballroom dance style.

Why is this? Well, the waltz has basic steps, turns and patterns that remain consistent throughout all standard ballroom dances, such as the foxtrot. The only difference between these dances is musicality, speed and the timing of the steps. For the most part, the posture and basic steps remain similar.

Regardless of the similarity and interconnectedness of these dances, each dance still has a very rich history. While you will already know the basics of foxtrot from my column last week, I hope you will find the historical background interesting.

OK, back to the familiar ground of Pomona, Calif. According to the dance website centralhome.com, Arthur Carringford was born in Pomona in 1882. He adopted the stage name Harry Fox and moved to San Francisco where he became a singer and stage actor.

However, due to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Fox moved to New York City where he became a vaudeville star on the stages of Broadway.

One night in 1914, Fox went to the dance club on the roof of the New York Theater called the Jardin de Danse and performed his signature “trotting” steps to ragtime music. The audience called his dance “Fox’s Trot” and the name has stuck.

As the dance grew more popular, examiner.com states that the husband and wife ballroom team of Vernon and Irene Castle picked up the dance and spread it throughout the ballroom world where its slower rhythm fascinated dancers.

The 1930s were the heyday for Foxtrot, it gradually moved into the formal ballroom scene where it has stayed.

As I mentioned, the foxtrot looks very similar to waltz, the only difference is the rhythm. While waltz is danced in three beats, foxtrot is danced in four, meaning that foxtrot can be danced to quicker songs such as the big band music of the 30s. Waltz’s characteristic rise and fall is also absent from foxtrot and the foxtrot allows for sharper movements contrasting from waltz’s extremely smooth style.

For a waltz and foxtrot comparison and lessons in both, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl3o8WxwSK4

What Dance Is This Anyway

What Dance Is This Anyway

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